Back in the days before streaming video and (creepy) online communities dedicated to annotating every obscure item of childhood nostalgia, the concept of “ephemera” had true meaning. Once a popcult artifact was retired or removed from the visibility cycle, it passed into the realm of increasingly hazy memory.
The passing of years and repeated negative responses to “hey, do you remember this” would cool those mnemonic embers even to the point where one often pondered whether the item in ever existed…or, at least, existed as remembered. If you were lucky, you might encounter another soul who was haunted by the very same phantoms. Such commisseration typically led to even more frustration, however, as the pooling of imperfect recollections would only muddy the waters even further.
As frustrating as these experiences were, the horrible truth is that we were better off not knowing.
Don’t believe me? Then feast your eyes on this mindfuckery-by-way-of-verification:
The dismal video quality is a blessing, trust me.
I can understand the reasons why the Thing was picked to star in a Saturday morning cartoon. Ben Grimm is right up there along Spider-Man as Marvel’s best realized and most relatable superhero. I can also understand why the producers decided to hedge their bets by yoking the property to the established (yet faded) popularity of The Flintstones franchise. (And, honestly, the worst was yet to come.)
I’m not so clear on the reasons behind reworking the jovial-tragic uncle figure into a bizarre pastiche of Captain Mavel and the Wonder Twins, however. Apparently the original concept was that the cure for the Thing’s rocky condition resulted in his regression into a teenager, but the explanation never made it into the final product.
This has caused a great deal of consternation in some segments of online fandom who cannot understand why cheaply animated connective tissue between junk food and toy commercials would aspire to be anything short of high art.